FROSTY ACHIEVES AIM DESPITE DRAMA-PLAGUED AFTERNOON Growing optimism in the Ford Performance Racing garage was checked at Eastern Creek today as a minor error in the pits held off Mark 'Frosty' Winterbottom's charge through the pack. After...
FROSTY ACHIEVES AIM DESPITE DRAMA-PLAGUED AFTERNOON
Growing optimism in the Ford Performance Racing garage was checked at Eastern Creek today as a minor error in the pits held off Mark 'Frosty' Winterbottom's charge through the pack.
After a lightning start from 15th on the grid the 26-year-old driver was leading the race by lap 11 thanks to a confident pit stop strategy that saw him stay out on track longer than almost anybody else. Misfortune intervened during the pit stop, however, as the car was released before the right-rear wheel was locked in. Frosty rejoined in 10th, where he battled with Greg Murphy for the rest of the race.
Team-mate Steven Richards, meanwhile, was using the same pit stop plan and took the lead from Frosty, who pitted on lap 14 of 31. A great stop saw Richards rejoin in 12th , much happier with the car's performance after making adjustments to the rear tyre pressure. He was never able to capitalise on the improvement, however, after an encounter with Cameron McConville saw Richards back in the pits for repairs to his front bumper, pushing him down to 27th.
The team is now looking to get two top ten results in tomorrow's racing, which begins at the Sydney race track at 11.40.
#5 Orrcon Ford Credit FPR Falcon
"If someone had said I'd finish 10th before this race I'd have been pretty happy with that, but when you know you should have been up further it's a bit tainted.
"The pit stop cost us quite a lot of spots; we could have been up to sixth but that's the way it goes sometimes. I came out behind [Greg] Murphy but in front of a bunch of about six other cars. If I'd got stuck behind them things would have got ugly.
"During the laps where I led the race I was pretty optimistic. I knew we would jump a few in the pits and then we could race the front-runners from there. Passing is possible here; I passed [Shane] Van Gisbergen on lap five, but you lose so much aerodynamics through turn one and it's very difficult to slip-stream. We were quicker than the cars in front of us so if we can do the same tomorrow it won't be a problem getting up there."
#6 Castrol FPR Falcon
"I didn't know I was leading the race. I was struggling with the car during the first stint and didn't think I was that competitive. My engineer was telling me to maintain the times I was doing and that I was doing better than the effective group of cars we were going to come out with after the pit stops.
"The guys did a great stop; we came out in a pretty competitive position. Then the car was quite good but unfortunately with the understeer the way it was, even though we were a lot faster than [Cameron] McConville, I was never in a position to out-manoeuvre him. When he finally made a mistake and drove wide at Turn Nine, he just drove back on his line when I was inside him and spun me. There was nothing I could do about it.
"Clearly, we're not the 27th-fastest car on the grid; we're much better than that so we've got to strategise our way back to the front. If we can get into the top 10 by race three tomorrow, then that will be a good outcome for me, and that's realistic."
FPR Team Principal
"You can't expect a decent result when you qualify 15th and 19th. Unfortunately we made a mistake in the pit stop or Mark would have been a few places higher. Steve was making good pace when he came across a car that was much slower that turned in on him.
"The race pace was fine, but the qualifying really stifled us. Our aim for the rest of the weekend is to get a top five finish; I'd be happy with that."